93 days ago, the FDA issued the first EUA for a Covid vaccine.
Since then, they’ve approved two more vaccines, with a third [and possibly 4th!] around the corner. 100+ million doses have been given.
93 days from now, Covid will be over in the United States.
This week we averaged 2.5 million doses a day, a new record! States have started to open up eligibility tiers. The trickle of vaccines is becoming a flood; we’ll be demand constrained soon.
I continue to expect to be able to get my first shot in early April. If you get offered a shot, take it! Post a picture of it. You likely know vaccine-hesitant people, and one of the best things to help convince them is seeing people they know and trust getting it.
If you know people who aren’t tech-savvy and qualify for a does, it may be worth reaching out to see if they want help to book. I’ve helped three people get their appointments, and it’s not always a straightforward process.
The rollout of the J&J vaccine is a bit slow, but it now started to ramp up. It seems like they’re being targeted in how they release it. This week FEMA had several pop-up sites that announced 500-1,000 doses open to anyone. I’ve also seen discussions about using it in populations where getting a second dose may be difficult, specifically homeless individuals.
Overall we continue to see dramatic declines in hospitalizations. This is due primarily to the large number of 65+ who have been vaccinated.
California backed off of requiring counties to use the new Blue Shield booking system. This is a welcome, common sense development. We’re now just supply-constrained, no reason to rock the boat.
The daily case count in some areas continues to be a concern. The daily infection rate in NY is 10x what it is in SF. In Miami, it’s 8x. Both of those places have an R of ~1, and it’s increasing. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s a race of 117 vs. vaccination. This week 117 became the dominant strain in these places. It’s still very possible that these places could see a final wave in the coming weeks.
Europe continues to be a significant concern. Their vaccination rates are anemic compared to the US / UK. Some countries recently halted using the AstraZeneca vaccine due to likely misplaced worries about side effects. Case counts are starting to rise in many countries in the Eurozone, presaging a possible 4th wave.
Novavax reported the results of their US trial, and, as expected, they’re fantastic. Their two-dose vaccine is as effective as the mRNA ones. They expect to file for a EUA in a few weeks, get approval in May, and they’ll have 100 million doses ready to go.
It’s a two-dose, protein subunit vaccine that critically doesn’t need to be kept in a freezer. They’ll ship over a billion doses globally this year.
The story of Novavax is pretty incredible. In January of 2020, they were selling lab equipment to stay afloat. Their senior staff was having drinks to discuss where they would go if / when the company shut down. Over the last decade, they had made several vaccines, but none made it to market.
For both Novavax and the mRNAs, they are stories of perseverance. Teams and individuals that spent decades being told to give up or that their ideas wouldn’t work. We owe an incredible debt to the scientists who stayed the course to put us in a position where we’re overflowing with vaccines.
Between the authorized vaccines, we’re going to have billions of doses this year. It’ll be the most extensive vaccination campaign in history. The infrastructure we build for it will be essential for any future concerns. Done right, we can make this the last pandemic in our lifetimes.
Day by day, it’s getting better. I’m starting to make plans for a few months from now.
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